23 July: World Whale and Dolphin Day

23 July: World Whale and Dolphin Day

21 July 2016

23 July is celebrated as World Whale and Dolphin Day. On this day in 1986, the International Whaling Commission imposed a ban on commercial whaling starting from the 1985/1986 season. The ban came into effect on 19 February 1986, which is why the world marks 19 February as Whale Day, or Marine Mammal Protection Day. Sometimes environmental organisations from different countries agree to mark 19 February as the day of protection of a specific endangered mammal species.

 

The study of marine mammals is conducted in Russia at such organisations as the Marine Mammal Council, the Russian Academy of Sciences permanent expedition for the monitoring of animals from the Russian Red Data Book and other rare species of Russian fauna, the Russian Geographical Society and World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Russia.

 

The beluga or white whales form one of the largest groups of Arctic animals in Russia. Although white whales are not critically endangered or rare species, they are considered to be an indicator species for the marine and Arctic ecosystems since they live in all Arctic seas and the Sea of Okhotsk.

 

The White Whale Programme (WWP) was established under the Russian Academy of Sciences permanent expedition to study the habitat and migration routes of the beluga whales.

 

Currently, the programme’s main goals are to study the distribution range, size and spatial structure of the beluga population in Russian seas; seasonal migrations of white whales in various parts of their habitat and their specific features in light of the changing environment; as well as to conduct veterinary and toxicological studies of white whales taken from their natural habitat.